As I’ve pivoted from baby-related content to more midlife-related content over the last few years, not much elicits as much engagement from you all as the topic of periods, menstruation, PMS, etc. And anytime this topic comes up, I often get DMs or comments from many of you who live with endometriosis.
Med-IQ is an accredited medical education company that provides an exceptional educational experience for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals. So it made sense to partner with Med-IQ on this campaign about endometriosis because I wanted to bring you all more scientifically backed information about something that seems to impact a lot of you.
I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from AbbVie Inc. to write about the realities of endometriosis as a chronic disease. All opinions are my own.
Some of you may not even realize that you have endometriosis, so that’s the focus of this post. We want to be sure you’re aware of the signs & symptoms.
Before I list them all, here’s the most important takeaway:
Periods shouldn’t hurt.
Sure, cramping is common with periods, but if your periods are so painful you have to call in sick to work or can’t get out of bed, that’s not normal. Although, this pain may have been normalized in your family. If you have a direct relative with endometriosis, there’s a 10-fold increased chance that you will also have endometriosis.
Also, some marginalized communities have been raised to not “make a big deal” of period pain or pain in general because of systemically being overlooked by healthcare providers.
All that is to say that if your periods are painful and you suspect you may have endometriosis after looking over the list of symptoms, we really want you to feel empowered to advocate for yourself because you do not have to endure this.
Other than having a direct relative with endometriosis, some other common risk factors are having shorter periods, a low body mass index, and starting your period at a young age (11 or younger).
Ask For Help
If you’re thinking this describes you, I hope you’ll make an appointment with your doctor or gynecologist asap to discuss your concerns.
I had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Erin T. Carey, Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery Fellowship Program Director at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, discuss this topic recently.
Here are some key points I took away about advocating for yourself if you suspect you have endometriosis:
- Research shows it can take 5 to 9 years to get a diagnosis, and that can be delayed even further if you’re a black or brown person who gets periods.
- Some doctors have a narrow view of what constitutes endometriosis symptoms, and may not consider bladder or bowel pain.
- Dr. Carey encouraged people who get periods to say directly to their doctors, “I’m worried I have endometriosis.” Start with that, and then detail the symptoms you’re experiencing.
- If you feel minimized or not heard, seek out another provider if possible. Your doctor should offer the full breadth of treatment and talk about the goals of treatment—whether they be for pain management, infertility, or to slow the progression of the disease.
Dr. Carey recommends the Pelvic Pain Society physician finder if you need help finding a provider.
For more information about endometriosis, please check out Endometriosis.org
Links to outside organizations are provided as a resource; linked content is not endorsed by Med-IQ.
Survey time! Want to win $100?
Survey responses are shared only in aggregate. Your responses to these survey questions will provide Med-IQ with important information about your experience with endometriosis, which will help us develop future educational initiatives.
Once you’ve completed the survey, you will have the option of providing your email address to be entered into a drawing administered by SOMA Strategies to win 1 of 8 $100 VISA gift cards. If you choose to enter, your email address will be used to randomly draw the winners and notify them of their prize.
- Hard Things Make A Great Foundation| A Lodgewell Staycation - September 13, 2021
- Show Up Uncomfortably – It Matters - August 23, 2021
- Let’s Talk Painful Periods And How That Shouldn’t Be A Thing You Live With - July 9, 2021